The treatment of veterans in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals is an inexplicable scandal. Now try to focus on this: the federal government, in all its might, is bringing criminal charges against a 74-year-old veteran for hanging an American flag on a fence. A four-by-six-inch flag! On a Veterans Affairs fence! On Memorial Day!
We announced last week that we will provide legal representation to Robert L. Rosebrock, a Vietnam-era veteran who faces federal criminal charges for displaying two four-by-six-inch American flags outside a Veterans Affairs fence on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016. The trial is scheduled to begin on March 7, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Rosebrock also is being criminally prosecuted for taking photographs on Memorial Day 2016, and on Sunday, June 12, 2016, without permission. The Memorial Day charge stems from photographs Rosebrock took of a Veterans Affairs police officer while the officer detained and cited him for displaying the two small flags outside the fence. Rosebrock also took photos of VA police detaining and handcuffing conservative activist Ted Hayes after Hayes displayed an American Flag above the same VA fence. Hayes, dressed as “Uncle Sam,” was not charged with any wrongdoing despite being detained and handcuffed.
The case, United States of America v. Robert L. Rosebrock, (CC11, 4920201; 4920202; 6593951), will be heard by U.S. Magistrate Judge Steve Kim in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Judicial Watch attorney Sterling E. Norris, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney and Los Angeles-based defense attorney Robert Patrick Sticht will represent Rosebrock.
The fence is part of the “Great Lawn Gate” entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park, a public park on the corner of Wilshire and San Vincente Boulevards in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. The gate and park are part of a larger, 388-acre parcel that includes the Veterans Home of West Los Angeles.
Rosebrock, along with fellow veterans, Hayes and others, have been assembling at the site nearly every Sunday and Memorial Day since March 9, 2008, to protest what they believe is the VA’s failure to make full use of the valuable West Los Angeles property for the benefit and care of veterans, particularly homeless veterans.
Deeded to the federal government in 1888 for the specific purpose of caring for disabled veterans, the property includes the veterans’ home, but also entirely unrelated uses such as a stadium for UCLA’s baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private prep school, a golf course, laundry facilities for a nearby Marriott hotel, storage and maintenance facilities for 20th Century Fox Television’s production sets, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls’ soccer club, dog park, and a farmer’s market.
A hotel laundry!
VA officials previously told Rosebrock that a federal regulation allowed hanging the American Flag and POW/MIA flags on the “Great Lawn Gate” fence, and Rosebrock, Hayes and others hung as many as 30 full-size America flags at the fence at the same time without incident.
Rosebrock faces up to six months’ imprisonment if found guilty on any of the three charges.
The federal government’s pursuit of these vindictive charges against Mr. Rosebrock is mind-blowing. Why in the world would the feds prosecute a 74-year-old veteran over the placement of two small American flags at the entrance to a park honoring veterans on Memorial Day?
Frankly, President Trump should ask why the VA and his Justice Department are trying to jail this American patriot.